The Institute of Medicine has recently issued an important new report that every healthcare professional needs to be aware of: Gulf War and Health: Volume 7: Long-Term Consequences of Traumatic Brain Injury.
It's a long report, but let me draw your attention to two critical pages. Click on the document's link marked "Summary" and look at pages 10-12. You'll find easy-to-read bulleted material that is a comprehensive list of known long-term issues of brain injury–and as important, a list of inconclusive findings that need additional research.
Here's an important excerpt to get you started:
Evidence is sufficient to conclude that there is a positive association; that is, a consistent
association has been observed between TBI and a specific health outcome in human studies in
which chance and bias, including confounding, could be ruled out with reasonable confidence as
an explanation for the observed association.
brain affected and the volume of brain tissue lost.
• Penetrating TBI and long-term unemployment.
• Severe TBI and neurocognitive deficits.
• Moderate or severe TBI and dementia of the Alzheimer type.
• Moderate or severe TBI and parkinsonism
• Moderate or severe TBI and endocrine dysfunction, particularly hypopituitarism.
• Moderate or severe TBI and growth hormone insufficiency
• Moderate to severe TBI and long-term adverse social-function outcomes, particularly
unemployment and diminished social relationships.
• Moderate or severe TBI, in the subset of patients who are either admitted into or
discharged from rehabilitation centers or receive disability support, and premature death.
• TBI and depression.
• TBI and aggressive behaviors.
• TBI and postconcussion symptoms (such as memory problems, dizziness, and
• Professional boxing and dementia pugilistica.
Why is this such important reading? Because if the Insitute of Medicine says that there's sufficient evidence, then ANY field affected by the topics above need to be revisited in terms of brain injury.
That means that the National Boxing Association needs to address brain injury. That means that the Alzheimer's Association needs to address brain injury. Mental health centers, suicide hotlines, family doctors–they all need education. And the list goes on and on.
For many of you who advocate on the level of your local and state community, this is one of the key documents you've been waiting for. Use it as often as you can.